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Book and DVD Reviews

UConn Native and Sustainable Plant Guide_Page_08 

Connecticut Native Plant and Sustainable Landscaping Guide

By Victoria Wallace and Alyssa Siegel-Miles

Interest in native plants and sustainable landscaping has exploded over the last decade. Through our UConn Extension Sustainable Turf & Landscape program, we provide practical science-based information to support the sustainability goals of Connecticut green industry professionals and home gardeners. With that in mind, we developed a free online guide of 44 pages of plant lists for every location matched with vibrant photographs.

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100 Plants to Feed the Monarch

Reviewed by Sara Bothwell Allen

As the populations of the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) have dropped precipitously in size in recent years, public engagement towards saving the Monarch is increasing thanks to education programming. This book provides gardeners, both novice and experienced, the information they need to make their home gardens or community spaces valuable parts of the Monarch’s global support system.

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The Ecological Gardener

Reviewed by Molly Kerker

Keeping an orderly garden while planting native plantings can be challenging. Seeking intentionality in my gardening practice and hungry for new ideas, I picked up The Ecological Gardener: How to Create Beauty and Biodiversity from the Soil Up. This well-organized book provides a very clear philosophy of ecological gardening, along with many helpful tutorials and ideas.

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Book Review: Deer-Resistant Gardening

Reviewed by Kerry O’Kelly

Dealing with deer is one of the biggest design challenges in gardening. Deer limit the design plant palette and cause untold damage, especially in the fall and winter. They can require costly fences, increase the maintenance burden, and exacerbate health risks from Lyme disease. This book has a lot of good deer guidance, especially to those new to dealing with deer. 

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The Four Laws of Ecology

By Barry Draycott

Last year I found a copy of The Closing Circle, Nature, Man & Technology by ecologist Barry Commoner. I started rereading it and was stunned to find in the first chapter, even before he states the Four Laws of Ecology, Commoner discusses the fundamental interaction of nutrients, humus, soil microbes, plant health, and climate! What is amazing is the book was published in 1971!!

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Reindeer at sunrise in winter, Sweden. Photo by Sara Nordangard. 

Book Review: The Reindeer Chronicles

Reviewed by Margot Taylor

You’ve got to love people who can find, understand, and interpret patterns and relationships. Judith Schwartz is this type of person as I’ve learned reading her new book, The Reindeer Chronicles. An engaging and skilled storyteller, Judith lays out an ecological rehabilitation process for our broken ecosystems, communities, and financial foundations. And she shows us how the power of inspiration can lift the human spirit, open the heart, and restore our American “can do” attitude. 

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Book Review: The Pollinator Victory Garden

Written by Kim Eierman, Published by Quarry Books, (2020)
Reviewed by Georgia Harris

I first heard about Kim Eierman’s book The Pollinator Victory Garden at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. While Eierman could not have predicted that the release of her book would coincide with a pandemic, the timing is particularly appropriate as more people are finding time to work in and enjoy their yards and gardens.  

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Summer Wildflowers Cover.cropped 

Book Review: Summer Wildflowers of New England

Written by Carol Garcie, Princeton University Press, 2020
Reviewed by Maureen Sundberg

Carol Gracie’s admiration and affection for the flowers she researches and photographs is evident on every page of her new book Summer Wildflowers of the Northeast. Those familiar with the thoughtfully detailed life histories of plants in Gracie’s Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast will recognize in this companion volume her wide-ranging mix of the natural history of species and spectacular photography.

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cover Wild Seed Project 2020 magazine 

Magazine Review: Wild Seed, Volume 6

Reviewed by Curtis Jirsa

Wild Seed is an annual magazine published by Wild Seed Project, a Maine-based nonprofit that advocates for using more native plants in our landscapes. This year’s volume, like its predecessors, is a compelling and richly-illustrated collaboration between an impressive group of scholars, horticultural professionals, local artists, and other experts and enthusiasts.

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Cover Nature's Best Hope 

Book Review: Nature’s Best Hope

A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard

Written by Doug Tallamy; Published by Timber Press February 2020
Reviewed by Angela Tanner

As the world hunkers down in the midst of  a pandemic, Doug Tallamy’s latest book Nature’s Best Hope offers, as the title suggest, hope, and we all need a little of that. Drawing topics from his earlier book Bringing Nature Home, Tallamy explains, with examples and statistics, what is happening to the ecological systems around us, and why we should care.

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